A song for Mary

Mary Bateman was was executed for murder 203 years ago. Her humiliating posthumous punishment is ongoing, her remains are displayed as a tawdry attraction at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds. Today I am accompanying the vocal beauty of Layla Bert Smith (Wyrd England Gazetteer), we play with the hope of setting her free:

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O! What do ye Wesh i’ the Beck

George H. Cowling

“O! What do ye wesh i’ the beck, awd wench?
Is it watter ye lack at heame?”
It’s nobbut a murderer’s shrood, young man,
A shrood for to cover his weam.(1)

“O! what do ye cut i’ the slack, awd hag?
Is it fencin’ ye lack for your beas'(2)?”
It’s nobbut a murderer’s coffin, sir,
A coffin to felt(3) his feace.”

“O! what do ye greaye(4) at the crossroads, witch?
Is it roots ye lack for your swine?”
“It’s nobbut a murderer’s grave, fair sir,
A grave for to bury him fine.”

“An’ whea be-owes(5) coffin an’ shrood, foul witch?
An’ wheas is the grave i’ the grass?”
“This spell I hae woven for thee, dear hairt,
Coom, kill me, an’ bring it to pass.”

1. Belly. 2. Beasts, cattle.. 3. Hide.
4. Dig 5. Owns,

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